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Inside the NFL (cont.)

Posted: Tuesday April 19, 2005 10:59AM; Updated: Tuesday April 19, 2005 6:17PM
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Does this mean Rodgers is going to be a great pro? No. It does mean he has a good shot because Tedford nurtured the guy's talent. That's how people should be looking at this. It's no reflection on Tedford if a player falls apart at the next level. In fact, if we're going to wonder if Rodgers has already played his best ball, let's really look at all the other Tedford pupils to see what's happened to their careers.

Dilfer was a disaster in Tampa Bay but he earned a Super Bowl ring in Baltimore. Smith's problems in Cincinnati had more to do with his work ethic than anything else. As for the other three, it's still too early to designate them as busts. Carr is starting to look more comfortable in Houston, especially with a Pro Bowl receiver such as Andre Johnson to catch his passes. Harrington --  and I know this will chafe skeptical Lions fans -- deserves to be judged by how he does with a healthy Roy Williams and Charles Rogers on the field together. And Boller is only entering his third year on a team that has yet to have a consistently productive quarterback under head coach Brian Billick.

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The truth is most of these players weren't cursed because they played for Tedford. They were hurt because they wound up on lousy teams. Several NFL quarterbacks have never recovered from that, which brings me to one aspect of this issue that tends to get overlooked: NFL coaches get paid to make these guys better. If they can't do it, that's their fault. If anything, people should be heaping more praise on Tedford for the job he's done with these players instead of wondering if he's producing robots. Boller, for one, looked like a candidate for the Arena League until Tedford coached him as a senior at Cal.

But that isn't the Jeff Tedford factor we will hear about this week. When Rodgers' name is called, sometime early in the first round, you can bet some analyst will mention this topic again on Saturday morning. My response to that: Pay it no mind. The future success of Aaron Rodgers will be determined by his supporting cast, his coaching and his dedication and desire. He has a shot to live out his dream. If that's what comes with being a Tedford guy, then Rodgers is as lucky as everybody else who's come before him.


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